health insurance

A major deadline looms at the end of the month for Kentuckians still seeking health insurance. 

March 31 is the last day until November to sign up for insurance on Kynect, the state’s online health exchange.

"They would not be able to enroll in coverage again until the next open enrollment  period which, right now, we understand to be starting November 15 for effective dates of coverage of January 1, 2015," explains Janie Miller, CEO of Kentucky Health Cooperative.  "So basically for the remainder of this year they would not be able to get coverage for themselves or their family."

There will be exceptions for qualifying events such as marriage or job changes.   

According to the state, 279,601 people had obtained health coverage on the exchange, including 222,719 individuals who enrolled in Medicaid and 56,882 individuals who picked up private insurance as of last Friday.

An annual statewide poll shows that one-quarter of Kentucky adults are without health insurance.

The Kentucky Health Issues Poll is funded by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky. That group's President and CEO, Susan Zepeda, says an even higher number of adults in the commonwealth was without coverage for at least part of 2013.

"Three in ten Kentucky adults were uninsured at some point in the last 12 months, which really underscores the need for helping people get access to insurance," Dr. Zepeda told WKU Public Radio.

Zepeda says the recent poll is important because it sets a baseline for how many Kentuckians have health insurance, and from what sources, ahead of the broader impacts of the federal Affordable Care Act.

That baseline, Zepeda says, will help policy analysts determine how much effect the changes related to the ACA are having on individuals and states.

Governor Beshear says most of Kentucky’s uninsured residents would qualify for discounts on health insurance purchased on the state’s new health exchange. Speaking Tuesday in Frankfort, said at least 80 percent of the commonwealth’s uninsured would get some kind of financial assistance to help them get insurance coverage.

The new health exchange was put into motion following the passage of the federal Affordable Care Act. It serves as an online marketplace where consumers can choose state-approved insurance plans and compare coverage and costs.

Enrollment in the Kentucky exchange begins October 1.

Government officials have said an estimated 332,000 uninsured Kentuckians would be eligible to receive coverage through the new exchange. The Courier-Journal reports Beshear said Tuesday that a family of four earning $70,000 a year could buy a health plan for a little over $400 a month.

census.gov

Newly-released data from the U.S. Census Bureau show nearly 17 percent of Kentuckians under the age of 65 lack health insurance. Those figures are similar to the health insurance outlook in Tennessee and Indiana, as well.

In Kentucky, Daviess County has a relatively low number of those without insurance, at 14.5 percent. Logan County, meanwhile,  has one of the highest rates of uninsured people in the state, at 22.3 percent.

The Census Bureau numbers are from 2011, and take into account each state’s residents under the age of 65, looking at all races, genders, and income levels.

You can see the Census Bureau's data in a county-by-county breakdown of Kentucky here.

Tennessee's information is here, and Indiana's can be seen here.

Creative Commons

A new report shows fewer workers in Kentucky and Indiana are getting health insurance through their jobs. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation says 59.5 percent of Kentuckians under the age of 65 received health insurance through their job or a family member’s job in 2011. That’s a drop of more than 9 percent from 2000.

In Indiana, 63 percent of those under 65 got health insurance through jobs in 2011, down nearly 15 percent from 2000.

Tennessee saw a 10 percent drop over that same time period.

Nationwide, the report found that 11.5 million fewer Americans get insurance through the workplace.

You can see the complete Robert Wood Johnson Foundation report here.

After months building a state-based health exchange, Kentucky officials have been told that the federal government has given approval to their work.

Despite objections from Republican lawmakers, Kentucky officials quickly began working on a state-based exchange --- a part of the Affordable Care Act.

Many states surrounding Kentucky are opting for a federal-run exchange or haven’t yet made a decision.

A judge’s order blocking a Christian health sharing group from doing business in Kentucky has rallied supporters. This week, Judge Thomas Wingate ordered Christian Care Medishare to stop operating in the commonwealth immediately as part of an on-going legal battle between Medishare and the state. Christian members of Medishare pay into an account that can be used to pay other members' medical bills. And the state says the organization must follow the same rules as insurance companies.

The advisory board tasked with overseeing Kentucky's health insurance exchange is set to have its first meeting Thursday. The 19-member board is made up of public officials, insurance executives, doctors and consumer groups. The agenda is short, focusing mainly on organizational tasks like forming subcommittees. The board is also getting an overview of the exchange from Executive Director Carrie Banahan.

A debate over Kentucky’s health insurance exchange ended with a walkout by Democratic lawmakers Wednesday. They were angered over an attempt by Republicans on the joint Health and Welfare committee to declare Governor Steve Beshear's executive order establishing the exchange illegal.

Governor Steve Beshear has decide to expand the board of the new health insurance exchange, while also naming those members today. The now-19 member board includes top level officials from Kentucky’s major insurers, including Anthem, Humana and Bluegrass Family Health.

A new Courier-Journal Bluegrass poll shows a near majority of Kentuckians oppose President Obama’s health care law, with a clear majority against the mandate requiring Americans to buy health insurance or pay a fine. But that same poll indicates overwhelming support for several key parts of the Affordable Care Act.

A Christians-only health care ministry that's battling in court for the right to continue operating in Kentucky could get a reprieve from the Legislature. Sen. Tom Buford, chairman of the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee, has drafted legislation to eliminate a legal impediment that has left the future of the Medi-Share program in question in Kentucky.

Kentucky's two U.S. Senators, Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul, are some of the most vocal opponents of the Affordable Care Act. The two co-headlined a Tea Party rally in Frankfort Tuesday to protest the health care law. During the rally, Paul said he wants to not only repeal the law, but replace it with a different one.

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